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Robert Peston discusses the future of journalism at University of Westminster

Journalism and Mass Communication 9 June 2014

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Robert Peston, the BBC Economics Editor, gave the 6th Annual British Journalism Review Charles Wheeler Lecture at the University of Westminster on Thursday 5 June 2014.

The lecture followed the presentation of the annual Charles Wheeler Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcast Journalism to Jon Snow, the distinguished reporter and presenter of Channel 4 News. Robert Peston described him as “along with Paxman… the most effective news interviewer of his generation.”

Robert Peston asked whether it was really “The most exciting time to be a journalist since the advent of television”. He discussed threats to serious journalism from online news sources, the rise of adverts disguised as stories, and most of all from the increasing power of PR companies in shaping the news agenda. While he found the diversity of news-media models a reason to remain optimistic, he did wonder whether “the [Charles] Wheelers and [Jon] Snows of this world aren’t an increasingly endangered species.”

Read a full transcript of the speech.

The award is determined by the British Journalism Review and was established in 2009 to celebrate the career and achievements of legendary BBC journalist Charles Wheeler. Previous speakers have been Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger; Mayor of London Boris Johnson; former director of communications in the Blair government, Alastair Campbell; the then BBC Director General, Mark Thompson; and the shadow minister for culture media and sport, the Rt Hon Harriet Harman.

This is the 6th year that the University of Westminster has hosted the prestigious lecture and awards ceremony. The University of Westminster’s continuing association with this high-profile award underlines the expertise we offer in the fields of media and journalism.

The University offers a number of journalism courses, including:


About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 175-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.


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